Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter "Eks"

Easter 2016 was a hit! I love Easter. I mean, what's not to love: Jesus rose from the dead, bunnies, chocolate (Cadburry mini eggs!), egg hunts. If we can just figure out a way to sneak Diet Dr. Pepper and a long luxurious bath in there (maybe next year on the latter), Easter would be the best thing ever!

This year the kids really got to fine tune their egg hunting skills- they had four egg hunts! That's what happens when you live close to both sides of your family (you have to allow each set of grandparents the opportunity to watch their grandkids run through the grass in search of brightly color eggs!) and when your mom is a sucker for all things festive and celebratory.

Our first hunt was on Saturday at our community park. As we're still relatively new in town, I had no idea what to expect. None of the parents I knew were going so I thought maybe it wasn't that popular of an event. Ha! We arrived 15 minutes early to a line of cars parking in crazy places (ditches!) just to get within lengthy walking distance of the park. I almost turned around and drove home but a backseat full of expectant children, desperately clutching their Easter baskets convinced me to tough it out. And I'm so glad we did! It was hectic but the park had it ALL figured out! Each kid could pick up six treat-filled eggs. As kids were picking up eggs, volunteers were recycling the eggs, filling them with more treats, and throwing them back on the grass. This ensured that every single kid in the entire city would have the chance to collect their six eggs.

After you get your eggs, you get in line to recycle your eggshells. In exchange for the empty eggs, each kid gets to select a prize from the prize table. It was so well done and so well organized. The only complaint from our end was that Jacob felt that six eggs was just too little. He told me very matter-of-factly that if he found opened eggs on the grass he could take the candy without breaking the six-egg rule because there's no limit on candy. I swear, when he grows up, he's either going to be a lawyer, or a criminal!

Jon's first egg hunt! Quickly learning all about Easter egg hunting:

When I told Jon to put eggs in his basket, he assumed this was like basket ball (new obsession, we have a mini hoop for him at home and he screams repeated "bah-ball!" every time he sees a hoop of any kind) and he cheered for himself each time he "made a basket."

Ryan was too shy to find eggs by himself, even though they were literally THROWN at our feet. He made me come with him and help him pick up every single one of his eggs. Which I actually didn't mind because I have no friends and this makes me feel needed/loved.

My baby!

This picture sums them up perfectly. I love my guys. Even though they're total (but cute) jerks sometimes.

FINALLY! I caught Jon's infamously photo-elusive smile!

Saturday night we colored Easter eggs. I had colored eggs with the kids earlier in the week but my hard boiled eggs turned out mushy and the kids were not impressed. The boys ended up coloring the first batch before we discovered the mushy problem, but the neighbor boy who was visiting used a white crayon to write potty words all over the eggs when no one was looking (before they were dyed). Examples of what I discovered on the freshly dyed eggs: "Fart 41," "poop stick," and "pee licker." Trying not to laugh my face off, I made him take half the eggs home so his mom could see what he was up to. On further reflection, that was probably a bad idea. She probably just thinks I did a bad job supervising to allow that to happen. Meh. It was funny as f*$%.

When you have all boys, you tend to be lacking in pink colored eggs. Not a one to be found!

After the kids went to bed, I went to great lengths to fill a million plastic eggs with quarters and the occasional candy, strategically hid them in just the right spots for three different skill levels, and then meticulously filled and hid three Easter egg baskets. Holidays are really the highlight of parenting. I live for them! As much fun as it was to be on the receiving end of the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause, it's simply a thrill to take on those roles and relive the excitement through your own kids.

The kids woke up early Sunday morning and Jacob was very displeased about the Easter rule: no touching any eggs or baskets until everyone is awake. Last year he found ALL the eggs before anyone else was awake! When we all finally woke up the kids proceeded to fight over who was finding the most eggs before securing their Easter baskets and taking inventory.

Found his basket!

"Mama, eks?"

Jon woke up after the big kids did their thing and was very excited to find that his basket was brimming with more "eks" (eggs) filled with jelly beans.

Off to church we went, where we had to fight the twice-a-year church goers (annoying!) to find a parking spot and then were stuck in the back of the church, standing next to the bathroom stalls, for all of Mass (to the pleasure of my kids who then had an excuse to roam and whose Circle of Bickering had expanded three-fold as a result).

We came back home only to pile back into the car for an hour drive to my grandma's house for our third egg hunt with family.

Easter family photo (with Ryan's new signature move)

Hunting for eggs with daddy

The Move again.

Then we wrapped up our Easter Sunday celebration by driving another hour to my father-in-law's house for dinner and our final egg hunt of the day, with cousins.

We discovered that Ryan's inability to find anything is not just conveniently limited to jackets and TV remotes. It applies equally to eggs filled with candy.

"Ryan, you missed an egg!"

"It's right behind you!"

"I give up."

Jon's grandpa took his hand and helped him find all the "eks" in plain sight on the grass. He thought it was the best thing ever! Also, don't you love his Mister Rodger's sweater? I die!

As you can tell, our Easter was very busy and fun-filled. My head is still reeling, trying to process what just happened. I can't believe how fast it all went!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Internet Is A Bitch

So I regret my last post because it was whiny and full of venting. But I mostly regret it because the internet is a total bitch! In the past I've loved this blog because when I need reassurance or am struggling, there is usually a chorus of working moms who chime in and provide the support I don't get in other aspects of my life. I wish I had time to cultivate more real life friendships. I'm trying really hard to branch out and meet other moms to form a support group. For an introvert like me, it's really hard.

So I was SHOCKED at the rudeness of a commenter on my last post. Here I was a mom at the end of her rope, reaching out in what used to be my safe place to word vomit my feelings, only to be attacked and called an asshole for trying to get through life and chores and my to-do list while feeling very under the weather.

I understand that when you put your life on the internet you are exposing yourself to criticismand comments of all kind. But why do people feel the need to throw all decency aside just because they are shielded by anonymity? We worry about bullying at school and teaching kindness...and yet the internet is full of cruelty and sharp tongues and the readiness to name call and berate people we don't even know and whose circumstances  we don't fully understand.

There is good in the blog world. I've seen it. I've been on the receiving end of it. But sometimes the rudeness of one has a way of burrowing much deeper into your thoughts than the kindness of many.

I've struggled lately with whether I should continue blogging. I know I will miss the community and support and the place to share and document our adventures. But holy hell, I won't miss the meanness. Why berate people? Why? What good does it do? It doesn't change anything. It does nothing but give the berator a brief sense of smugness, right? If you don't like my content, feel free to stop reading! I won't mind, I swear!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Flu-Plague *Updated Thanks To Jerky Commenter

I was feeling pretty smug this school year. People around me were dropping like flies with the flu and I kept patting myself on the back and bragging about how I hadn't been sick in three years. HAH! If I met that person today, I would punch her in the eye balls.

So...over two weeks ago I flew out of town for a really brief work trip to defend a deposition. I enjoyed a night without kids and after the deposition I killed a couple extra hours shopping and wandering around a new city. I arrived at the airport a little bit early, eager to head home, only to discover that the flight was delayed. And delayed. And delayed. I wandered the airport for hours, sneaking in some exercise and trying to stay entertained and fed. Unbeknownst to me, sometime during this journey around the airport I got within coughing or sneezing distance of a very inconsiderate soul who ended up giving me the flu-plague.

The day after I arrived home was Saturday and we had big plans (ok, dinner without kids is big to US) to celebrate my husband's birthday. I woke up with a killer sore throat but thought it was a passing bug and ventured out at 7am for a seven mile run. No biggie, right? The run was gorgeous. But my throat was Death.

I refused to cancel dinner and toughed it out for a night on the town (still certain I just had a weird cold), downing hot tea after hot tea throughout the meal and trying not to hack my lungs out. The next day a fever set in and ended up staying with me for SEVEN DAYS. Unfortunately, I had another deposition to defend bright and early Monday morning. I survived the deposition (barely) as well as half of a trial strategy meeting that was scheduled the next day.

I hated showing up at work sick but this was a full-day important meeting that had been planned out a month regarding a very big case. I was walking around with fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, fatigue and a throat that felt like it was full of knife blades. Unfortunately, trial strategy meetings wait for no one. So I chain drank tea and popped advil, Mucinex D and cough drops like a maniac. Despite all this, I only made it half way through the meeting at which time I looked pathetically at my boss and told her that I had to leave. I went promptly to urgent care where they gave me the horrid flu test (giant q-tips stabbing your brain through your nostrils) and I tested positive for the flu. Thanks for nothing flu shot!

I went to the store and stocked up on a month's work of medicine and sickness remedies and went home to resume all my normal mommy activities while possibly dying of the flu-plague. Because: mommies don't get sick days!

The next day all three of my kids woke up with the same symptoms. They also tested positive for the flu. The horrid flu test was so horrid and traumatic that, after their doctor visit, I took the kids to pick out a little toy at the toy store (yes, I'm the hugest softie on the planet, but I also just had that flu test administered the day prior and knew what they had to go through and YES it is THAT HORRID). We all stayed home from work/school for the rest of that week.

My husband also started feeling sick too. Unfortunately, he had the Man Flu. It's the version of the flu (usually contracted by a dad) where you are fine enough to go to work and take care of yourself and do all your normal activities, but as soon as you get home you are too sick to help take care of your feverish wife and sick children and lay in bed pathetically while your plague-suffering wife does all the parenting and household duties. I think our marriage will survive but let's just say there was a good solid week where I would have gladly banished him to live in a pineapple under the sea with my son's favorite cartoon character.

To sum of this wretchedly boring post, I felt like death for seven days- intermittent chills and sweating and waking up multiple times a night drenched in sweat yet being freezing cold, not able to breath through my nose, with a throat that felt like it was lit on fire every single time it was touched by the slightest amount of air. Every ounces of my will and my being longed to lay on my bed curled up under my electric blanket and yet I forged onward, through chores, and meals, and requests for soda and crackers (poor Ryan couldn't understand why he couldn't eat while he was vomiting violently), and vomit cleaning, and diaper changing, and sick baby holding.

To top all this off, it was Ryan's week to bring snacks to preschool. I had to leave the house every morning (despite the fact my child was not going to school) to bring in homemade, healthy snacks for the class (admittedly, none of my snacks were actually homemade and the last day I gave up trying to be healthy and brought in fruit snacks and cheese puffs).

I cannot tell you how marvelous and amazing it was that first day I woke up without night sweats or a perpetual cough. I don't recall what the weather was, but in my memory, it was bright and sunny and the entire world was fresh and new and mine for the taking! I can't begin to describe how much I delighted in the simple pleasure of being able to breath through my nostrils! The plus side, I probably ate four meals that entire week and came out the other side of the flu looking insanely thin, which promptly motivated me to eat a Dairy Queen Blizzard and two Taco Bell burritos that same day. :)

Lesson of the day: don't be smug when you haven't had the flu in three years. Apparently smugness in punishable by flu-plague.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Hello Bike Season!

I was sent to work Friday morning by a very enthusiastic farewell party. The littlests were very excited to be spending the day with their awesome grandma and they always watch for me out the window as long as they possibly can. I like to think it's because they love me. But it could very well be because they know all the house rules will go out the window (and be replaced by the more favorable Grandma Rules) as soon as my taillights disappear.

Still. I love the attention they give me. Multiple hugs. Several high-fives. And at least one "Have a good day mommy!" from Ryan.

The past couple weekends I have been meeting up with one or two other moms that I know from Jacob's school to go for runs. Yay for friends! I'm pretty much desperate for female friends and I spend countless minutes overthinking my Facebook messenger responses to them: "does that sound too eager? too desperate? too lame?" At a recent school fundraiser, I saw one of the moms I run with and I could have sworn she was extending her arms out for a hug- which I eagerly gave her....but in hindsight, I've been wondering if she WASN'T inviting me in for a hug and was just making a welcoming gesture and now perhaps I've scared her off or she thinks I'm weird or she thinks I'm an over-enthusiastic hugger- I'm TOTALLY NOT, I swear.

This Saturday, my mom friends were both busy so I did something unspeakable. I grabbed my running shoes at 7am and went for a 6.6 mile run. ON A SATURDAY MORNING. I've gone on early runs the past three weekends. But only because that's the only time that worked for everyone. This Saturday I did in on my own! I'm finding that morning runs are very much growing on me. I love the serenity and quiet of the morning. And I love the sense of accomplishment that comes along with completing a semi-long run before the rest of my family has even had their breakfast.

My solo Saturday run was wonderful (if not a little lonely). It had rained the night before and the park trails smelled so fresh and woody. Stream water trickled nearby and, since I had forgotten my earbuds, I soaked in and enjoyed every little nature sound. Running is both my cure and my addiction at the same time.

The flash rainstorms and the random showers of hail that plagued us this week let up long enough for me to get outside with the kids. In fact, it was downright sunny on Saturday. So we started our morning together by playing in the front yard. I turned my back for ONE second and discovered that Jacob had rigged his bike to pull Jon's stroller with a fanny pack. Jon loved being pulled around the yard. He loved it so much that I realized that I should probably get him a bike of his own soon.

I wasn't about to let the kids have all the fun. I pulled my bike out of the garage to take it for a spin. Unfortunately, the chain got all messed up in the move. And my husband was running a long errand with my Honda Odyssey. So I packed up our 97 Subaru Legacy. First stop: the bike shop. Second stop: somewhere cool to bike.

I probably sound like a broken record but I LOVE our Subaru. On Saturday, this thing held my bike, Jacob's bike, Ryan's bike, Jon's stroller, me, and my three kids, including one grumpy dinosaur. Also, it has 292,000 miles on it!

Not sure why the grump. Actually, I'm NEVER sure why the grump. He's so easily grumped. Also, he's been wearing this dinosaur costume since Friday. Refused to take it off for anything as you'll see in the remaining pictures in this post.

We found a new park. There are no parks within walking distance of our house so we are having to explore all the drive-to parks. We used to live walking distance to five parks. It makes me so terribly sad that we don't have that anymore. I guess that's the one trade-off for moving out of the city and into the 'burbs.

Jon, who's been battling probably his FOURTH flu of the season and who's too stuffed up and coughy to take any naps, was able to be distracted from how crummy and tired he felt long enough to enjoy the park.

Throwing pine cones into the wetlands.

Wetlands. Kinda pretty, in an ugly way.

DinoRy enjoyed climbing up the slide and making Jon (who was trying to slide DOWN the slide) very angry.

This was my favorite part of the day. Watching DinoRy give Jon "underdogs." I've more aptly named them "under-dinos."

Nope. Aint nobody got time for a dino kiss. Sorry Ryan.

Sunday morning Jon was still really crummy so we took him to prompt care. Ryan insisted on tagging along, much to the amusement of every single person we ever saw.

Waiting in the clinic lobby. Dino-ing in leisure.

100% regretting his choice to tag along. Have you hugged a sad dino today?

I rewarded his extreme and utter patience (seriously, he was amazing!) with a trip to Panera for lunch. He ate his chicken noodle soup like a real, civilized human! He sat quietly and chatted with me over our meal. I was like, "who is this personable human? Excuse me, have we met?" Meanwhile. Jon was trying to eat soup out of a really shallow Panera spoon. He managed to get between 0-3% of each spoonful of soup into his mouth. The rest went on his shirt, his pants, his high chair, the table, the floor, and me. He had absolutely no idea that nothing was going into his mouth. He was just thrilled to be eating all by himself.

After lunch, Ryan was further rewarded with a trip to the grocery store to get some Oreos. If you ever want people to smile at you all day long, just bring along a pint-sized dinosaur (maybe I should start a rent-a-dino service?). It's like we were spreading happiness everywhere we went. You can't really be in a bad mood when this is walking in front of you.

Later in the day I found myself in Target. I swear, I have no idea how it happened. Target must have a magical force field that can draw unsuspecting prey into it's clutches, er, parking lots. Once there, I couldn't NOT buy a bike for Jon. And somehow we ended our long, busy weekend like this:

Jon LOVED his new ride. And I loved how much he loved it and would have willingly pushed him to the far corners of the planet if it were possible. That little boy is my baby and has this strange, unexplainable power over me- much like the Target force field. I'm sitting here trying to describe him and I simply can't. He's so funny and stubborn and affectionate. His cheeks are so pinchable and sometimes I don't know if I can trust myself not to pick him up and squeeze him as hard as I possibly can.

Just one week after I was starting to become concerned over the fact that he only knew how to say "mama" and "baba" and had worried myself into a frenzy, convinced he was going to need some kind of speech therapy, his vocabulary just exploded! The other night he brought me the book "Go Dog Go." I was folding laundry and didn't stop what I was doing to read to him (the nerve of me!). He grabbed my hand, thrust the book into it, opened the first page and exclaimed "Go Da Go!" I was shocked that he could say more than one word put together. In case, you're wondering, he won that round. Whenever I turned to the parts where the two doggies are saying goodbye to each other, Jon would shriek, "goobye! goobye! goobye!" Sidenote: why is that one dog such a flipping a--hole and always telling the other dog that he doesn't like her hat? But I guess the other dog should stop being so insecure and asking a--holes for their opinion.

Anyway, Jon pretty much owns me.... and he knows it. Here he is at the store, making me buy some cheese we don't even need. And I probably bought three.